Contact:    Board of Education

310-450-8338, ext. 241

For Immediate Release

June 20, 2006



The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education Announces the Departure of Interim Superintendent Dr. Michael Matthews


The Santa Monica–Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) announced today that it has received confirmation that Interim Superintendent Dr. Michael Matthews has accepted a position with Extreme Learning, a San Francisco based firm that develops after-school programming for Title I Schools that have been placed in Program Improvement. Dr. Matthews has been named Vice President of the newly formed Los Angeles office branch and will be in charge of bringing Extreme Learning programs to Title I and Program Improvement Schools in Los Angeles County.  “I look forward to learning instructional techniques and strategies that can be directly applied to children in districts, like ours, that are truly committed to closing the achievement gap. Although it is difficult to leave the District after thirteen years, I will always be grateful for the commitment and compassion to our children that I have seen from all district employees. I will always treasure the professional relationships that I have enjoyed throughout my tenure at SMMUSD,” Dr. Matthews stated.


Dr. Matthews has had an outstanding career at SMMUSD. In 1993, he accepted the challenge of serving as Principal of the newly created Malibu High School and is credited with the outstanding record of academic achievement Malibu High enjoys today as a California Distinguished School.  Following his 11 years at Malibu High, Dr. Matthews was recruited by Dr. John Deasy to serve as the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, where his outstanding leadership abilities and organizational skills have allowed him to substantially improve the effectiveness of the department.  Following Dr. Deasy’s departure from the District this year, the Board of Education enthusiastically supported Dr. Matthews as the natural choice for Interim Superintendent to ensure that the remarkable trajectory of improved student achievement would continue during this period of transition.


Board Vice President, Kathy Wisnicki, who has known Dr. Matthews for many years as a colleague and a friend, stated that “Dr. Matthews has served as an exceptional leader in our District and we are profoundly saddened by his departure. We are extremely grateful for his years of dedication to SMMUSD and his extraordinary accomplishments both at Malibu High School and as an integral part of the Leadership team.  I believe that he will be an incredible asset to Extreme Learning in providing services to students of greatest need. This new and exciting endeavor will provide opportunities for him to grow professionally and broaden his knowledge in educational reform”.  Board President, Julia Brownley echoed this sentiment by stating, “We will miss his leadership greatly but understand that this is an opportunity for him to embark upon an exciting new career path.”


Dr. Matthews will continue as Interim Superintendent through July and will facilitate the transition with the new Superintendent in August. The Board is conducting its final round of interviews and hopes to select a finalist within the next few weeks. The Board wholeheartedly and unanimously wishes Dr. Matthews success in his new position.



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Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District

1651 16th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404


fax 310.581.1138